This is a morality tale. It's also about the character of Democrats and the weakness most politicians on the Left show in the face of a fight. It's something you never see from Republicans, even when they're wrong, caught lying, or found to have done something illegal, even criminal.
Eliot Spitzer goes after Wall Street, then when he's targeted by a political hit, helped on by the Right's machine, whether it be Fox or Murdoch's rags, he's relegated to the dustbin of political could-have-beens.
The annoyance I'm experiencing seeing Mr. Spitzer relegated to talking head fate on CNN sitting next to Kathleen Parker coincides with the general disgust I'm feeling towards the punditocracy revealing their inner Republicanism. As to CNN, it's not like Spitzer could go to Fox. He couldn't even go to MSNBC, because of making an enemy of the CNBC crowd, minus Dylan Ratigan, with Spitzer going after Jack Welch's good Wall Street friend. Corporations, after all, must always rally 'round one of their own.
It's also morally criminal who gets ostracized and made to pay in this country. Martha Stewart did time, but Maurice Raymond "Hank" Greenberg, the man who ran AIG walks away claiming he did nothing wrong, though a New York judge said otherwise, skips. No one will ever explain this injustice to me sufficiently.
At a time when Democrats need financial sheriffs, because Pres. Obama and the Democratic elites aren't up to it, it's infuriating Mr. Spitzer's still benched.
Doesn't anyone understand or remember that this man saw the financial crisis coming, as well as the fundamental reasons it was about to occur, before anyone else? Not only that, but he was actually doing something about it before it hit.
In France he'd be made a hero, with his sexual proclivities ignored, his fighting instinct to go after Republican Fat Cats hailed.
In America, the disgraced "sheriff of Wall Street," at a time when we could use someone with balls, is relegated to the punditocracy.
If he was a Republican he would have not only stayed in office, but the legislators would have supported him. Instead, because of his bull in a brothel styling, his colleagues in New York bailed on him.
Republicans never make their own pay for their insatiable libidos or reprehensible behavior. Newt Gingrich asked his wife for a divorce in the hospital as she recuperated from cancer, yet he has his eyes on running for president in 2012. Fox exalts him, with Sean Hannity sucking up to him at every appearance. David "diapers" Vitter was humiliated yet he remains a senator. Rudy disgraced his wife by announcing he wanted a divorce publicly before he'd told her, but that was after he'd had a failed marriage to his cousin, yet Chris Matthews and his ilk never castigated him like they did Clinton. John Ensign is still a senator today even after his moral and suspicious shenanigans out of Sin City.
The other interesting thing about the hit put on Eliot Spitzer, because make no mistake about it that's what it was, is that customers of escorts or prostitutes are never -- okay very, very, very rarely -- made a target. I know this because I spent years inside the sex trade, talked to the Louisiana madam that Aschroft sent the FBI after while jihadists were planning 9/11 inside our country, so know something about what secret sex is all about. Never mind that it's not rocket science.
When Roger Stone is found in the middle of a Democratic hit, that is after the U.S. Attorney sends a letter to Eliot to beg off an investigation, then that same Republican targets you, well, if it smells like dirty tricks that's because it is. Stone reportedly has a tattoo of Richard Nixon between his shoulder blades, which speaks volumes.
Eliot Spitzer made enemies of the most powerful men running the U.S. money system. He was also effective in proving his case. Yes, he was a prick while he did it, making no friends.
Now, I'm not going to go into the whole sorry soap opera, but there's a reason Spitzer's downfall came to a head after he zeroed in on Dick Grasso, which brought Ken Langone into the mix. See, Spitzer believed it was Langone who helped Grasso get his big payoff, which Spitzer deemed exorbitant. Ken Langone then became bent on revenge. The story goes on and on and so does the moral of it.
Republicans won and continue to win, because Eliot Spitzer, who people like me saw as presidential material (called the first potential Jewish president), is seen not fit for public office.
Compared to whom, David Vitter, Newt Gingrich, Rudy, John Ensign?
The "downfall" of Eliot Spitzer was his own fault.
The problem with Democrats is that they are consumed by political self-loathing. When one of their own is caught with his pants down their self-righteous gene kicks in. Judgment and Oh The Horror cries rise, the offending person meant to walk the media plank or worse. When they refuse, as in the case of William Jefferson Clinton, the last national Democrat in office that knew how to wage a war against his adversaries on the Right, people like Joe Lieberman or Claire McCaskill parade themselves out as moral mouthpieces and scolds, their self-righteousness a political bullet that the Right applauds on impact.
Republicans are consumed by self-righteousness and when one of their own is caught they may let him twist in the wind, but their self-loathing is reserved for gays. There is really no crime bad enough to cause a Republican to turn self-righteous against their own. That is unless he or she thinks raising taxes to pay for our debt is a good idea, or if going after the criminals of Wall Street is suggested. It's simply not done and if you're on the Right and suggest it... well, they don't, so that's a moot point.
Silda Wall Spitzer reportedly told her husband not to resign, which is recounted in Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, a terrific documentary now available. But his personal relationships in New York politics weren't strong enough. It took Hillary Rodham Clinton to save her philandering husband, and no one comes close to the power she wields, so the Spitzers were at the mercy of Eliot's thin relationships.
So, today when I turn on CNN to see Spitzer as a pundit, then look around at today's crop of gutless wonders currently leading the Democratic Party, the only people I see winning from keeping Eliot Spitzer out of public office is Republicans. They knew how dangerous he was to them politically, so when he handed them a chance they took him down. That's why it's very likely Republicans on Wall Street and their friends on the Right in the U.S. Attorney's office took him out.
Eliot Spitzer isn't around to watch them anymore. ...and look what's happened since.
Taylor Marsh is a political analyst and veteran national political writer out of Washington, D.C.